Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Comcast's US$40 billion Sky takeover becomes unconditional

Comcast's $40 billion Sky takeover becomes unconditional Murdoch steps aside as Comcast secures Sky
Cassandra Castillo | 12 October, 2018, 18:30

The U.S. cable company is now the majority shareholder of Sky which enjoys nearly 23 million European viewers, owning more than 75 percent of the European satellite company's issued ordinary share capital.

"We are pleased today to be the majority owner of Sky", Comcast chief executive Brian L. Roberts said in a joint statement to the London Stock Exchange.

Comcast announced that it has completed the acquisition of Sky shares held by 21st Century Fox and that its offer for Sky has become unconditional.

Comcast said it will give 14 days to settle consideration on its mandatory offer, and if the company hits 90 percent acceptance of its offer for Sky shares, the cable giant will use a regulatory provision "to acquire compulsorily any Sky Shares not acquired or agreed to be acquired by or on behalf of Comcast Bidco pursuant to the mandatory offer".

"We very much look forward to working with Brian and the Comcast team to achieve further growth and development of Sky's business".

Mr Murdoch's departure together with that of six other directors was announced by Sky shortly after Comcast said it was now the majority owner of the company.

More news: Female ranger taken by crocodile in remote Northern Territory

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Comcast clinched the fourth largest corporate bond sale on record, successfully borrowing $27 billion to fund its $39.7 billion acquisition of the pan-European satcaster. To this, analysts believed that the US cable company has overpaid for the shares, probably due to pressures over tougher competition for viewers against Netflix and Amazon.

New Street was not alone.

For Zach Fuller, an analyst with MIDiA, thought Comcast's move was too risky for its public image.

"This would have been an absolute PR disaster for Comcast had the deal not gone in their favour", he added.

Martin Gilbert, outgoing chairman of Sky's independent board committee, said the deal was an "excellent outcome for Sky shareholders" and congratulated Comcast on taking control.

United Kingdom culture minister Jeremey Wright had urged Comcast to ensure the independence of Sky News.

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